Support Groups Near You!!
So, here is the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT…are you ready?!?!?!?
I am working to help develop small, informal support groups near you. If you want to head one up, all that it involves is finding/providing a gathering place for women to talk about infertility regularly. It is low maintenance, I promise! I am thinking they will be once a month and groups of no more than 10 women. You can get together where you feel comfortable and simply talk, share, and help one another. Very little planning is involved. If you have seen the power of support groups, you won’t want to miss this opportunity.
If you don’t want to head one up, but you would love to attend, I am currently working with some women to develop in these areas (I would love to see this list expand into other states…but I need your help!!):
Davis County, Utah
Cedar City, Utah
Let me know if you are in any of these areas and would like to participate.
If you will look at our community here, you will see that there are women all over and most have said they’d like to be involved in a support group. I just need a little help to get it going. Email me today at kerstin.daynes(at)ldsinfertility(dot)org.
I am excited with this new venture and can’t wait to see where it takes us.
Now for my last post about support groups…
Establishing a Network of Those Who “Know”
Excerpted from Infertility: Help, Hope, and Healing
Few things are better than talking with someone who knows about the betrayal you feel from your body, the physical and emotional difficulties associated with infertility treatments, the loss of privacy, and the sadness. Talking with others who have experienced infertility will help you feel more normal. Knowing that someone else has experienced what you are feeling and then being able to share thoughts and feelings with that person can be one of the greatest gifts during the battle with infertility. As women, “we have to have a name for what we are experiencing and [know] that someone else has felt it” (Naomi Judd, interview by Jane Pauley, The Jane Pauley Show, NBC, Season 1, episode 17, first aired September 21, 2004).
These friends hopefully know firsthand the importance of maintaining privacy and confidentiality. They are more likely to know which questions to ask and which not to ask. They know when to speak and when to listen. It is important to find others who can truly mourn with you and comfort you when you grieve. In turn, you can mourn with and comfort them. Remember as you choose to confide in your friends that you maintain the agreement you made with your spouse—How much will you share? How much will you keep quiet?
It is important to remember that having a friend who is experiencing infertility along with you may require that you celebrate when your friend triumphs. Will you be prepared emotionally to express sincere joy at her success? Remember that you would want her to truly celebrate your success.
I think we can find Sarah’s response to the birth of her sweet and much anticipated son intriguing as we gain perspective about celebrating the success of others. After Isaac was born, the scriptures tell us that “Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me” (Genesis 21:6). Now remember, “to laugh” in this context means to rejoice, which changes the meaning dramatically: “God hath made me to rejoice, so that all that hear will rejoice with me.” It was indeed a miracle that Sarah had witnessed and she had every reason to rejoice and to be glad. Her story, filled with both sorrow and extreme joy, would likely give comfort, hope, and cause to rejoice to anyone who would hear it. I am convinced that her story did touch the lives of those immediately around her just as much as it gives us reason to rejoice now hundreds of years later. I can imagine that Sarah’s daughter-in-law, Rebekah, and her granddaughter, Rachel, held onto the hope and faith of their matriarch to see them through their very personal struggles with being barren. Just as Sarah’s rejoicing provides us reason to rejoice, every woman’s successes during the struggle of being barren, can give us reason to rejoice.
I have several friends who are part of my “network.” Some know the cause of their infertility, some are in the midst of treatments, while some are taking a much needed break. Others have found success in their quest for children while others have experienced repeated devastating disappointments. Some of my friends have experienced infertility for years and others are at the beginning of the road, just starting to wonder if there might be something wrong. My friends have provided me with listening ears. Those who have forged the way have guided my path and have provided me with an education of terms, procedures, and questions to ask. I have cried tears of sorrow with some friends and tears of joy with others. The setbacks have caused me to question certain procedures while the triumphs have given me courage to continue in faith.
For many couples, healing can occur when they are approached tactfully about their infertility. Sometimes it is even better when they receive the gift of a trusting relationship with someone else that is infertile. As we who are infertile proactively seek opportunities to open this dialogue, we can provide strength and support to others. Because we are in the midst of the sorrows, we can offer unique sensitivity and love that we know they need.
Am I saying we should seek out those people who are suspiciously infertile, hunt them down, and make them our projects? No. But, I am saying that we should welcome opportunities to reach out to those who cross our path and to make an effort to lift their burden for a season. As we speak words of compassion, we can help dry tears of sorrow, heal wounded hearts, and restore hope to the hopeless. Simultaneously, we will begin to identify miracles and blessings interwoven in the lives of our friends, bringing encouragement into our own lives. We will find small glimmers of joy. Look for these opportunities and feel that joy!